Net Metering Levels The Energy Playing Field

By Barry Goldwater Jr.

I don’t recall Joe Galli, the former executive director of the North Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, ever taking up the cause of economically disadvantaged people in south Phoenix. Nor do I understand why he doesn’t identify his new role as the Executive Director of  Market Freedom Alliance. It’s perplexing that the head of an organization by that name would be expressing disapproval of free market enterprise. Nor do I understand Mr. Galli’s motives in writing an article critical of net metering. Perhaps APS has found another front group to attack solar energy.

I am Chairman of TUSK, which stands for Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed. It’s a conservative group that supports energy choice and energy independence.

APS doesn’t like net metering because it forces the utility monopoly to pay a fair price for the excess solar energy rooftop solar users send back to the grid. That’s not a subsidy, that’s commerce. In fact Arizona subsidies for rooftop solar power are long gone. That’s a good thing. The industry is able to stand on its own two feet.

You can’t say the same about APS. It’s a regulated monopoly that depends on a government set rate of return of 10%. If APS makes some bad calls, no worries, they can ask regulators for a rate hike. And captive ratepayers have no choice. It’s not like they can switch power companies. As far as national subsidies, the fossil fuel industry is one of the most heavily subsidized industries in the country, receiving far more than solar.

The rooftop solar industry, which supports TUSK, is made up of private businesses, not regulated monopolies. Rooftop solar is giving these monopolies the first competition they ever had and they don’t like it; and apparently neither does Mr. Galli.

Whatever Joe’s motives in writing an article critical of net metering, I’d like to set the record straight. The federal government has dozens of favorable tax structures that benefit traditional energy sources such as natural gas, coal and nuclear.  Yet for solar there is only one and the benefit of the lower tax treatment is passed on to the end consumer through lower electricity costs.  As any good republican knows, lower taxes means more economic growth and more jobs.  Lower taxes on solar are no different.

Secondly, Mr. Galli makes the claim that rooftop solar is for the rich. That’s simply not the case. 57% of the rooftop systems installed in Arizona are installed in zip codes where the median household income is at or below the Arizona median income. That’s according to the Arizona Solar Energy Industry Association, a respected trade group.

Monopolies such as APS don’t like leased rooftop solar which has made solar available to people of more modest means. In fact, APS supports a property tax that targets leased rooftop solar customers. Hopefully Mr. Galli’s concern for those struggling in this economy will extend to working class families and retirees using solar; and perhaps he will write an article critical of this impending property tax.

Conservatives are smart enough to know that net metering opens energy choice and energy independence to more people through rooftop solar. And I am certain that conservatives can see though APS’ attempts to tax a competitor out of business.

Key Sun City Group Opposes APS Solar Kill Efforts

Tell Utilities Solar Won't Be Killed

The Recreation Centers of Sun City Have Written The Arizona Corporation Commission Supporting Net Metering

(SUN CITY, Ariz.) There’s a reason they call it “Sun City.”  The Recreation Centers of Sun City have written to the Arizona Corporation Commission  expressing opposition to any plans to alter net metering, pointing out that the Centers utilize solar energy and net metering as do many of the residents of Sun City, who live on fixed incomes.

The letter read in part:

The Recreation Centers of Sun City, Inc. (RCSC) would like to express our concerns over the recent discussions regarding changing the policies surrounding net metering.  RCSC has fourteen solar projects that will be completed and online in the very near future and many of our residents in Sun City have invested in rooftop solar, because of the net metering policies that the Commission adopted.  Net metering allows RCSC and our residents the choice of solar, while also providing those on a fixed income the ability to manage their energy costs and needs.

TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) is  grateful  that entities such as RCSC embrace solar energy and net metering, which requires  Arizona Public Service (APS) to pay fair market value for any excess electricity rooftop solar customers send back to the grid. APS is seeking to kill solar energy in Arizona by attempting to end net metering as we know it. The net metering policy in place in Arizona is being used in 43 states.

TUSK Chairman Barry Goldwater Jr. said, “They say with age comes a little wisdom. That’s evident by the support expressed by our friends in Sun City. They are among the many seniors Valley wide who save money with solar.”

To learn more about T.U.S.K. visit www.dontkillsolar.com

T.U.S.K. believes that rooftop solar is similar to a charter school—it provides a competitive alternative to the monopoly. Monopoly utilities aren’t known for reducing costs or for driving business innovation, but the Arizona solar industry is. Solar companies have a track record of aggressive cost reduction in Arizona. The more people use rooftop solar, the less power they need to buy from the utilities. Energy independence for Arizonans means smaller profits for the utilities, so APS is doing everything it can to stop the spread of independent solar.

TUSK Launches New Ad Against 800 Lb Utility Monopoly

TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed) released a new ad Thursday against the APS monopoly by placing ads across the banner of the Drudge Report – one of the internet’s most visited political news sites.

Here’s a screenshot of the ad across Drudge:

TuskDrudge

In the latest ad, TUSK portrays APS as the “800 Lb. utility gorilla” beating up on independent solar businesses in Arizona. Former congressman, Barry Goldwater, Jr. then explains why conservative Republicans should be leading the charge for energy choice in Arizona.

Here is a copy of the ad:

The message: Don’t let APS monopolize Solar Energy in Arizona. To learn more about TUSK visit www.DontKillSolar.com.

APS Wrong. Solar Saves Ratepayers, New Study Shows

Tell Utilities Solar Won't Be Killed

Rooftop Solar Generates $34 Million A Year for APS. APS’ Customers – Not Shareholders – Should Reap This Benefit

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) A new study shows that rooftop solar and net metering generate a windfall for Arizona Public Service (APS). Rooftop solar generation provides APS with $34 million in benefits each year.

TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) is calling on APS to give back the windfall it has made from rooftop solar energy.  $34 million a year should be returned to APS customers in the form of lower rates, not put into the pockets of a giant monopoly and its shareholders.

TUSK Chairman Barry Goldwater Jr. said, “In free enterprise, those who make the investment should reap the rewards. APS has not invested in private rooftop solar. Rather, the utility has been trying to kill the industry to limit competition. And for that, they deserve no reward.”

Net metering allows people who invest in rooftop solar to receive fair credit for the power they send back to the grid. It is a simple policy – used in 43 states today – that works very much like rollover minutes on a cell phone bill.  Solar is far and away the most popular source of energy in the eyes of Arizonans, but to APS, rooftop solar has become a competitive threat to its monopoly.  By working to get the Corporation Commission to change net metering rules, APS is attempting to kill the thriving independent rooftop solar market in Arizona in order to protect its monopoly interests and overwhelming profits.

Rooftop solar is a free market enterprise built by the private investments of homeowners and businesses that install solar panels on their roofs. School districts have also invested in rooftop solar.  Through these investments, schools are saving taxpayers millions of dollars while home and business owners are saving money on their electricity bills.

The study showing that solar provides a $34 million benefit to non-solar customers was commissioned by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and authored by Crossborder Energy. Using APS and energy market data, the study found that in addition to providing benefits to solar adopters, like control and savings, rooftop solar provides benefits all APS customers.  For each dollar of cost, rooftop solar generates $1.54 in benefits to all APS customers.

There are several ways that rooftop solar benefits all APS customers.  First, rooftop solar enables APS to spend less money on purchasing power and building expensive conventional power plants. Second, APS can also avoid or delay investments in transmission and distribution infrastructure, because electricity is being generated at the same place it is consumed.  In addition, rooftop solar saves APS money on ancillary service costs, capacity reserve costs, avoided renewables costs, and by providing environmental benefits, like lower air pollution emissions and less water use.  To learn more about the study and see the full results, click here.

To learn more about T.U.S.K. visit www.dontkillsolar.com

T.U.S.K. believes that rooftop solar is similar to a charter school—it provides a competitive alternative to the monopoly. Monopoly utilities aren’t known for reducing costs or for driving business innovation, but the Arizona solar industry is. Solar companies have a track record of aggressive cost reduction in Arizona. The more people use rooftop solar, the less power they need to buy from the utilities. Energy independence for Arizonans means smaller profits for the utilities, so APS is doing everything it can to stop the spread of independent solar.

TUSK Releases New Ad – Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed

Don’t let APS monopolize Solar Energy in Arizona. Learn more at www.dontkillsolar.com

ICYMI: TUSK Representatives Discuss Solar Energy Choice in Arizona

Jason Rose of Rose, Moser & Allyn Public Relations and Court Rich of The Rose Law Group, discuss the monopolistic utility challenges to solar energy choice in Arizona on AZ PBS’ Horizon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tclm7ER6SRs&feature=share&list=UU_p64g9Ke-gfdR7d-EnYFNQ

Arizona Republican Icon Barry Goldwater, Jr. Gives Voice to Efforts to Save Arizona Solar Choice

Tell Utilities Solar Won't Be Killed

Effort To Stop APS From Killing Independent Solar In AZ Takes To Radio

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) Following in his father’s footsteps as a conservative trailblazer in Arizona, Barry Goldwater Jr. is standing up to utility monopolies to preserve Arizona’s rooftop solar industry.

The voice of T.U.S.K (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed), Goldwater can now be heard valley-wide in a new radio commercial that urges energy consumers to stand up to Arizona Public Service (APS). Goldwater and T.U.S.K oppose efforts by APS to extinguish rooftop solar in Arizona by trying to eliminate a cornerstone policy called net metering.

To listen to the commercial click here. To learn more about T.U.S.K. visit www.dontkillsolar.com

Net metering ensures that customers with rooftop solar get fair market credit from APS for any extra power they return to the grid. Conservatives in Arizona have stood up for school choice and healthcare choice, and now they are standing up for energy choice.

If APS pulls the plug on net metering, thousands of jobs would be lost. Businesses would suffer. Schools that utilize net metering will be sending more tax dollars to APS. Consumers would pay more.

“Energy choice is the American way. It’s the Republican way. And it’s the way to energy independence,” said Goldwater. We can’t allow monopolies to end consumer choice by changing the rules at the Arizona Corporation Commission.”

Barry Goldwater Jr. served 14 years in Washington and amassed expertise in energy, the space program, aviation and defense and government procurement. Goldwater was particularly instrumental in all facets of energy policy and research and development, including authoring the Solar Photovoltaic Act.

T.U.S.K. believes that rooftop solar is similar to a charter school—it provides a competitive alternative to the monopoly. Monopoly utilities aren’t known for reducing costs or for driving business innovation, but the Arizona solar industry is. Solar companies have a track record of aggressive cost reduction in Arizona. The more people use rooftop solar, the less power they need to buy from the utilities. Energy independence for Arizonans means smaller profits for the utilities, so APS is doing everything it can to stop solar.

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TUSK: Solar Power Has Staying Power in Arizona

Tell Utilities Solar Won't Be Killed

New Poll Shows Opposition To APS’ Plans To Shut Down Solar In Arizona, Including Among Republicans
A New Organization Forms in Support of Solar Program

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — A revealing new poll shows that Arizona voters, including Republicans, are crystal clear in their opinion of solar energy: Voters like it and they want it to stay here. The information comes on the eve of efforts by Arizona Public Service to shut down the independent solar market in Arizona.

The poll shows that voters think solar power companies are better for the environment than other utilities, will save taxpayers money and an elected official who votes to end the solar program will be committing political malpractice, according to the pollster.

The poll comes as a new organization has emerged to encourage that solar remains viable in Arizona. To show backing for the solar industry, a new organization dedicated to keeping the solar industry in Arizona has announced its formation, T.U.S.K.—Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed. It will be dedicated to keeping the solar industry in Arizona and help the state’s business owners, homeowners and schools to keep their energy costs lower and to provide more energy choice for state taxpayers.

Well-known Arizona Republican and former U.S. Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr., who is supporting T.U.S.K. and its efforts, said: “As a son of Arizona, I know we have no greater resource than our sun. Republicans want the freedom to make the best choice and the competition to drive down rates. That choice may mean they save money and with solar that is the case. Solar companies have a track record of aggressively reducing costs in Arizona. It’s crucial that we don’t let solar energy—and all its advantages and benefits it provides us—be pushed aside by those wanting to limit energy choice. That’s not the Republican way and it’s not the American way. Energy independence is what we should all stand up for and that’s what I intend to encourage.”

The statewide poll, which was conducted on March 20-21 by renowned Republican pollster Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies, surveyed 400 likely voters in Arizona, with an oversample of 327 likely Republican primary voters.

The key findings of the poll were as follows:

When asked which of many sources of energy they would MOST want to encourage the use of in Arizona, more than half (52%) of voters say solar power, making it far and away their top choice. Among just Republican primary voters, solar power again easily tops the list, with 40% of Republican primary voters saying they most want to encourage the use of solar power, followed by natural gas at 19%, nuclear at 14%, energy efficient efforts at 6%, oil at 5%, wind power at 5%, and coal at 4%.

  • Fully 63% of voters in Arizona say that solar power companies are better for the environment than utility companies, while just 21% say utility companies are better. Among Republican primary voters, half (49%) say solar power companies are better for the environment, while 31% say utility companies.
  • One half (52%) of Arizona voters say solar power companies are more likely to save taxpayers money, which is close to double the 28% who say utility companies are more likely to save taxpayers money.
  • Eight-eight percent of voters agree (including 76% of Republicans) that solar energy is finally succeeding in Arizona because solar customers are allowed to sell the extra energy their solar panels generate back to the utility company (called net metering). In other words, if consumers are forced to buy power from Arizona Public Service for a certain price, Arizona Public Service should have to buy excess power created by solar panels for that same price. The voters strongly agreed that this is a good policy that exists in 43 other states, and it should not be ended by the Arizona Corporation Commission.
  • Fully 75% of voters say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who voted to end the solar power program in Arizona, with a majority (52%) saying they would be much less likely to vote for that candidate. A Republican elected official who voted to end the solar power program would also be putting him or herself at risk in a primary, as 60% of Republican primary voters said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who voted to end the program.
  • Eighty-four percent of voters (and 76% of Republicans) agree that when it comes to providing electricity, there should be more choices and competition rather than just have to use the power from the utility monopoly. Solar power is an important part of that.

The poll was conducted by Glen Bolger, a partner and co-founder of Public Opinion Strategies. Bolger is one of the Republican Party’s top political strategists and pollsters. Bolger has extensive experience in Arizona. In 2012, Bolger did work on behalf of two of the independent expenditure efforts that helped elected Jeff Flake to the U.S. Senate. In previous election cycles, Bolger has served as the pollster for former Congressman John Shadegg, as well as former Congressman J.D. Hayworth.  Bolger also regularly conducts polling for the Arizona Association of Realtors and has done a significant amount of polling at the local level in the state. Bolger is one of the few pollsters ever to twice receive the “Pollster of the Year” award from the American Association of Political Consultants, winning the prestigious award for his work in both 2002 and 2009.

Public Opinion Strategies is a national political and public affairs survey research firm whose clients include leading political figures, Fortune 500 companies, and major associations. Public Opinion Strategies has 15 U.S. Senators, six governors, and more than 75 Members of Congress as clients.

“What this poll shows is that solar power is extremely popular the Valley of the Sun and throughout Arizona,” said Bolger. “The evidence is this poll is overwhelming: When it comes to encouraging the use of solar power in Arizona as compared to other energy sources, solar wins hands down and wins from both sides of the aisle. Voters believe that solar power companies are better for the environment than utility companies, and also that solar power companies are more likely to save taxpayers money than utility companies. Like school choice and health care choice, solar choice is supported broadly by Arizonans, and it’s an important part of the Republican agenda.”

Bolger concluded: “From a political standpoint, voting to end the solar power program is a complete non-starter, as voters are much less likely to support a candidate who votes to end the program.”

Read the poll interview questions

Read the findings

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New Republican, Business Organization Forms To Save Solar in Arizona

T.U.S.K.: Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed
Group chairman Barry Goldwater Jr.: ‘Republicans want the freedom to make the best choice and the competition to drive down rates’ 

(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — A new force is organizing to ensure solar remains viable in Arizona. To show backing for the solar industry and to stave off attempts by Arizona Public Service to extinguish the independent rooftop solar energy market in Arizona, a new organization has announced its formation, T.U.S.K.—Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed. It will be dedicated to keeping the solar industry in Arizona and help the state’s business owners, homeowners and schools to keep their energy costs lower and to provide more energy choice for state taxpayers.

T.U.S.K. will work to educate the public about the threats posed by the efforts of the utility monopoly. If the threats come to fruition, thousands of jobs in Arizona will be lost. In fact, a recent study by Elliot D. Pollack & Associates found that the solar industry has created 16,000 jobs for Arizonans.

Like school choice and health care choice, solar choice holds great promise for Arizona, and should be an important part of the Republican agenda, according to well-known Arizona Republican and former U.S. Congressman Barry Goldwater Jr.

Goldwater, who is supporting T.U.S.K. and its efforts, said: “As a son of Arizona, I know we have no greater resource than our sun. Republicans want the freedom to make the best choice and the competition to drive down rates. That choice may mean they save money and with solar that is the case. Solar companies have a track record of aggressively reducing costs in Arizona. It’s crucial that we don’t let solar energy—and all its advantages and benefits it provides us—be pushed aside by those wanting to limit energy choice. That’s not the Republican way and it’s not the American way. Energy independence is what we should all stand up for and that’s what I intend to encourage.”

Goldwater served 14 years in Washington and amassed expertise in energy, the space program, aviation and defense and government procurement. Goldwater was particularly instrumental in all facets of energy policy and research and development, including authoring the Solar Photovoltaic Act. Besides serving as chairman of the new organization, Goldwater will be advising the group on policy, politics and engage in substantial outreach for the solar industry.

T.U.S.K. also believes that rooftop solar is similar to a charter school—it provides a competitive alternative to the monopoly. Monopoly utilities aren’t known for reducing costs or for driving business innovation, but the Arizona solar industry is. Solar companies have a track record of aggressively reducing costs in Arizona. The more people use rooftop solar, the less power they need to buy from the utilities. Energy independence for Arizonans means smaller profits for the utilities.

T.U.S.K. backs net metering, a successful policy in 43 states that gives property owners fair credit for the solar they deliver to the grid. Net metering is the latest target by APS to curtail competition. In simple terms, it’s like the rollover minutes on your cell phone bill. Net metering is one of the most important policy tools that elected officials have to empower homes, businesses, schools, and public agencies to invest private capital to install solar on their property. Eliminating net metering would amount to a tax hike on hundreds of Arizona schools that are saving millions of dollars by installing solar to decrease their electric bills. Local taxpayers would be left to pick up the tab if schools are no longer able to save this money. It also will waste energy being generated by the rooftop systems.

The state’s leading providers of rooftop solar are backing the organizational efforts with pending support from a diverse coalition upset at what APS is attempting to convince the Arizona Corporation Commission to do.

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